Hot Clam Dip in Bread Bowl

Hot Clam Dip | Pinky's Pantry
This is an old recipe that I’ve had for many years. I got it from one of my old cookbooks, but sadly, I don’t remember which one. Probably a Junior League cookbook. Clam Dip is rich, creamy, and utterly delicious. I haven’t tried making it with low-fat cream cheese or mayo, but I don’t see why you couldn’t if you felt inclined to try cutting down on the calories. Let me tell you though, calories or not, this dip is worth every scrumptious bite!

HOT CLAM DIP IN BREAD BOWL

  • 1 (1½-lb.) unsliced round bread bowl
  • 2 (8-oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
  • a couple of dashes tabasco sauce, or to taste (optional)
  • 4 (6½-oz.) cans minced clams, drained
  • 4 large green onions, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Slice top 2 inches off bread and reserve for lid.
  3. Cut out insides of bread, leaving a 1-inch-thick shell.
  4. Tear cut-out bread into pieces to use for dipping.
  5. With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, mayonnaise, worcestershire sauce, and tabasco (if using) in large bowl until well-blended.
  6. Stir in clams and green onions.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Pour filling into bread bowl.
  9. Place reserved lid on bread.
  10. Wrap bread tightly in 2 layers of heavy-duty foil and place on cookie sheet.
  11. Bake until filling is very hot and bread is crusty, about 1 hour.
  12. Unwrap bread and place on serving tray.
  13. Remove lid and lean lid against bread at angle for a pretty presentation.
  14. Lid can later be cut into cubes for dipping.

NOTE:  If you don’t feel like doing the whole bread bowl thing, or you just can’t find a bread bowl, you can skip it (like I did in the photo above). Just beat the cream cheese, mayonnaise, worcestershire sauce, and tabasco together in a microwave-safe bowl until smooth. Microwave for 3 minutes or until cream cheese mixture is hot, stopping to stir every 30 seconds. Stir in drained clams and green onions. Microwave 30 seconds more. Stir well and serve with sliced baguette bread for dipping.

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Green Dragon Chicken Rolls

Green Dragon Chicken Rolls | Pinky's Pantry
My friend, Pooh, was at Trader Joe’s when they were handing out samples of these rolls. She loved them so much, she asked the lady how she made them, then wasted no time picking up all the ingredients to try making them herself once she got home. She then came over to my house and taught me how to make them.

These rolls make a great appetizer for parties or family gatherings. All the ingredients to make them come from Trader Joe’s but you could really buy them anywhere (except for the green dragon sauce). You can cut the recipe in half if you don’t want to make so many rolls.

GREEN DRAGON CHICKEN ROLLS

  • 1 bag (1 lb. 12 oz.) frozen breaded chicken
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, then crumbled
  • 1 cup sour cream, plus extra to use as “glue”
  • 2 – 8 Tbsp. Trader Joe’s Green Dragon hot sauce
  • ½ small head of lettuce, very thinly sliced
  • 1 pkg. (6 sheets) lavash flatbread
  1. Bake breaded chicken according to package directions.
  2. Let cool completely, then chop into little pieces.
  3. In a small bowl, combine sour cream and green dragon sauce. Start with two tablespoons green dragon sauce and keep adding, a tablespoon at a time, till it’s as hot as you like. Three tablespoons is plenty hot for me.
  4. Toss chopped chicken, crumbled bacon, sour cream mixture, and lettuce together in a large bowl.
  5. Place a sheet of lavash bread down on your work surface.
  6. Mound 1/6 of chicken mixture down one long edge of lavash.
  7. Smear about an inch wide of sour cream along opposite edge. This acts as the “glue” to seal the roll closed.
  8. Roll lavash up tightly beginning at side with chicken mixture and ending at side with sour cream, pressing edge to seal well.
  9. Repeat with remaining lavash and chicken mixture.
  10. Wrap each roll in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator until ready to use.
  11. Slice into 3/4-inch thick slices and serve.

NOTE:  If you can’t get Green Dragon sauce, substitute some other hot sauce like Sriracha. You can also substitute tortillas for the lavash.

Jalapeño Cheddar Crackers

Jalapeno Cheddar Crackers | Pinky's Pantry
I saw Ina Garten make these crackers on Food TV and they looked so good that I just had to try them. I decided to make them for our next movie night. They were sort of a cross between a cracker and a savory shortbread. Delicious with a chilled glass of crisp, white wine. I think they’ll also make a great accompaniment to the cocktails at our next cocktail party. Yummm….. Definitely a keeper!

JALAPEÑO CHEDDAR CRACKERS

  • 2 cups all-­purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ⅛ tsp. baking powder
  • 1¾ sticks cold unsalted butter, diced into 1/2-­inch cubes
  • 5 ozs. extra ­sharp white Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 Tbsp. minced and seeded jalapeño pepper
  • ¼ tsp. chipotle chili powder
  • 3 Tbsp. ice water
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp. milk, for egg wash
  • Fleur de sel or sea salt
  1. Place the flour, kosher salt, and baking powder in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse to mix.
  2. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. Add the cheese, jalapeño, and chipotle chili powder and pulse again.
  4. Add the ice water all at once and continue pulsing until the mixture begins to form a ball.
  5. Dump the dough onto a floured board, gather and press it into a ball, then roll it into a 14­-inch log.
  6. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  7. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400°F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  8. Cut the dough in 3/8-­inch ­thick slices.
  9. Place the crackers on the prepared sheet pan, brush tops with egg wash, and sprinkle lightly with fleur de sel.
  10. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Mini Seafood Potpies

Seafood Potpies | Pinky's Pantry
I had to take some appetizers to a party so decided to make mini seafood potpies. I love potpies but we usually make them with chicken. I thought seafood would make a nice change. You could do this with shrimp only or crab only. Or you can add lobster or scallops for more varied seafood. Just make sure your combination of seafood totals half a pound. If you like, you can double the filling recipe to make one deep dish potpie.

MINI SEAFOOD POTPIES

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ small yellow onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup sliced mushrooms, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup milk or cream
  • ¼ cup clam juice
  • ¼ cup sherry
  • ¼ lb. cooked crabmeat (can substitute imitation crabmeat), roughly chopped
  • ¼ lb. cooked salad shrimp, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 box (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, to brush pastry
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Melt the butter over medium heat.
  3. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  6. Add the milk, clam juice, and sherry.
  7. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes.
  8. Stir in the crabmeat, shrimp, and parsley.
  9. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  10. Meanwhile, unfold pastry sheets on lightly floured work surface.
  11. Cut out 12 circles a bit larger than the size of the muffin cups you will be using (you may need to roll the pastry out a bit to be able to cut 12 circles).
  12. Cut out 12 mini fish shapes from puff pastry scraps to top each pie.
  13. Press the pastry circles into the wells of your muffin pans.
  14. Make an egg wash by beating the egg with 1 tablespoon water.
  15. Brush the pastry crusts with egg wash and bake for 6-8 minutes.
  16. Remove from oven.
  17. Fill par-baked crusts with seafood filling.
  18. Top each with one of the mini puff pastry fish you cut from the scraps.
  19. Brush top crust with extra egg wash.
  20. Return to oven and bake about 15 minutes or until top pastry is puffed and golden.
  21. Serve hot.

Hot Artichoke Dip

Hot Artichoke Dip | Pinky's Pantry
The first time I tried artichoke dip was at a restaurant in San Francisco. It was to die for. They served it with thin, crispy tortilla chips. The dip was warm, cheesy, gooey, in short, everything you want in a dip. One bite and I was a fan for life.

This dip is easy to prepare. If you have a food processor, you could throw everything except the artichoke hearts in there and get it all blended together. Then add the artichoke hearts last and pulse them a few times so they’re chopped but not mush. Scrape it all into your gratin dish and bake.

HOT ARTICHOKE DIP

  • 1 pkg. (8 ozs.) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 can (14 ozs.) artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth.
  3. Beat in mayonnaise until well combined.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and stir together well.
  5. Transfer mixture to a pie plate or shallow gratin dish.
  6. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until mixture is bubbling and top is golden brown.
  7. Serve hot with bread, crackers, tortilla chips, or veggies.

Totchos

Totchos | Pinky's PantryThis recipe is a play on traditional Nachos, except instead of tortilla chips, you use tater tots. It makes a hearty and delicious appetizer, or can be served for a yummy brunch dish. Try to have whatever toppings you’ve chosen all ready to go so that as soon as the cheese is melted over the tater tots, you can pile on your toppings and serve right away. The longer the tater tots sit with the toppings on them, the less crunchy they become. Not that that’s a bad thing. My family just prefers them crunchy.
Totchos | Pinky's Pantry

TOTCHOS

  • 1 bag (2 lbs.) frozen tater tots
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • sour cream, thinned with a little water or milk till pourable
  • fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

Toppings:

  • chorizo, removed from casing, crumbled and cooked
  • refried beans or black beans
  • diced red onion
  • sliced black olives
  • whole kernel corn
  • sliced pickled jalapeños
  • pico de gallo, or your favorite salsa
  • guacamole
  1. Line a jellyroll pan with foil.
  2. Arrange tater tots in single layer on baking pan and bake according to package directions until brown and crispy.
  3. Remove from oven and sprinkle cheese over tater tots.
  4. If necessary, return to oven and bake just until cheese is all melted.
  5. Remove from oven and top with any combination of the toppings listed above. You can use as much or as little as you like of the toppings.
  6. Drizzle sour cream over everything.
  7. Sprinkle with cilantro for garnish.
  8. Serve immediately.

Cheesy Bacon Tater Tots

Cheesy Bacon Tater Tots | Pinky's Pantry
Did you know that February 2nd is National Tater Tot Day? It’s an easy day for me to remember because it’s also my only brother’s birthday. Tater tots are an iconic American food that was created in the early 1950’s. The founders of Ore-Ida were trying to figure out what to do with all the little leftover pieces of potato that they had tons of everyday. They chopped up the potato pieces, mixed them with flour and seasonings, then forced the mixture through the barrel of an extruder, slicing off little one-inch pieces as the mixture came through. And so the tater tot was born.

Actually, when the little potato nuggets were first created, they didn’t have a name for them so the owners of Ore-Ida decided to have a name-the-product contest among their employees. The name “Tater Tots” was submitted by a young mother named Clora Lay Orton. Everyone loved the name and she won the contest.

It’s hard to believe that when the inexpensive tater tots were first sold in stores in 1956, they didn’t exactly fly off the shelves. Today, Americans consume approximately 70 million pounds of them per year! It’s safe to say the lowly tater tot has finally found its place in society, from school cafeterias to the ever popular food truck. It’s certainly found its way to our dinner table!

CHEESY BACON TATER TOTS

  • 1 bag frozen tater tots
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup ranch dressing
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 6 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
  • 2 stalks green onions, chopped
  1. Bake tater tots according to package directions.
  2. While tots are baking, combine sour cream and ranch dressing in a bowl.
  3. Drizzle sour cream mixture over baked tater tots.
  4. Sprinkle cheeses over the top.
  5. Place under broiler until cheese is completely melted.
  6. Remove from broiler and top with crumbled bacon and green onions.
  7. Return to broiler for 2-5 minutes to warm up the bacon.
  8. Serve hot.

Zucchini Onion Appetizer Squares

Zucchini Squares | Pinky's Pantry
This is an old Bisquick recipe and is delicious served as an appetizer or for a light lunch or brunch dish. It’s easy to make and is a good way to use up extra zucchini when it’s in season. I think the addition of oregano adds a bright herby flavor to this dish but you could omit it if you like, or substitute a different herb like thyme or savory.
Zucchini Squares | Pinky's Pantry

ZUCCHINI ONION APPETIZER SQUARES

  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano (optional)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ⅛ tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup Bisquick baking mix
  • 3 cups thinly sliced unpeeled zucchini (about 3 or 4)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease bottom and sides of a 9×13″ baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, parmesan cheese, oil, parsley, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and Bisquick.
  3. Stir in the zucchini and onion.
  4. Spread in prepared baking pan.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned at edges
  6. Cut into 1¼-squares and serve warm or at room temperature.

Smoked Salmon Cucumber Canapés

Smoked Salmon Canapes | Pinky's PantryI love smoked salmon. It’s delicious made with pasta or turned into a dip for crackers. But my all-time favorite way to eat smoked salmon is with bagels and cream cheese. These canapés are a take-off on the bagel and cream cheese idea. Instead of bagels, I used english cucumbers for a base. I made our family’s traditional cream cheese filling, but I substituted dill for the green onions.

If you’re wondering where to get smoked salmon, Costco carries a Norwegian brand called Foppen that is just wonderful because besides being delicious, the salmon is already thinly sliced and ready to use. The package comes with plain, peppered, and dilled slices. I cut each slice into strips and then roll each strip into a cone to make the little rosette shapes. It’s really easy and looks so pretty on your appetizer table.
Smoked Salmon Canapes | Pinky's Pantry

SMOKED SALMON CUCUMBER CANAPÉS

  • 1 lb. smoked salmon, very thinly sliced
  • 2 english cucumbers
  • 1 pkg. (8 ozs.) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 4 tbsps. fresh dill, chopped
  • ½ tsp. salt
  1. With a fork, score lines down the skin of the cucumbers. Slice scored cucumbers into rounds.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, mayonnaise, dill, and salt until well combined.
  3. Pipe a little cream cheese mixture on top of each cucumber slice.
  4. With a sharp paring knife, cut each slice of smoked salmon into strips approximately ¾ inch wide.
  5. Roll each strip into a rosette shape.
  6. Top each cucumber slice with a salmon rosette.
  7. If not serving immediately, chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Norwegian Smoked Salmon from Costco

Norwegian Smoked Salmon from Costco

Cool Veggie Pizza

Cool Veggie Pizza | Pinky's Pantry
This is an old Pampered Chef recipe that I learned to make many years ago when The Pampered Chef was still in its early years. The company operates on the same principle as Tupperware — people host a party where the company’s products are demonstrated and sold. I attended a Pampered Chef party where this dish was served and loved it so much that I made it myself for the party I subsequently hosted. It’s been a favorite with my family ever since. A lot of times, I make the recipe healthier by substituting reduced fat crescent rolls, fat-free cream cheese and/or lite mayonnaise.

Anyway, it’s the last day of Nurses Week tomorrow so I’m making this to take to the office. I know the nurses will love it, especially since I’m making the healthy version. Did I ever mention that I work with a bunch of nurses? Well, I do. So healthy food always goes over big at our office potlucks.

COOL VEGGIE PIZZA

  • 1 can refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 box cream cheese, softened
  • 1½ tsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed and minced fine
  • 1 tsp. dill weed
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups chopped assorted fresh vegetables (any combination of vegetables you like such as broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, green or red bell peppers, tomatoes, green onions, mushrooms, carrots, zucchini or yellow summer squash, etc.)
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Unroll crescent roll dough onto a cookie sheet and pinch seams together to seal.
  3. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
  5. Combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, garlic, dill weed, salt and pepper together in a small bowl.
  6. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly on top of cooled crust.
  7. Coarsely chop your selected vegetables.
  8. Sprinkle a layer of each vegetable over pizza crust.
  9. Cut into squares and serve.

NOTE:

  • If you don’t like dill, you can substitute Italian Seasoning mix. You can also omit the garlic if you want to.
  • My favorite combination of veggies that I use whenever I make this pizza is:  zucchini, mushrooms, green and red bell peppers, tomatoes and green onions.